Jul 20, 2024  
2024-2025 Graduate Catalog 
2024-2025 Graduate Catalog

Policy, Planning, and Management, M.P.P.M.

The MPPM prepares students for professional leadership roles in government, nonprofit and community organizations, and other public service settings. The MPPM curriculum develops robust, multi-disciplinary foundational knowledge and skills that will permit graduates to excel in the complex and interrelated fields of policy, planning, and management. Coursework focuses on conceptual learning and application through use of real-world data, case studies, client- and community-based projects and assignments, and provides opportunities to apply learning to contemporary issues and challenges. The degree serves working professionals and pre-career students from varied educational backgrounds who aspire to leadership roles and careers as managers, planners, researchers, analysts, or advocates in public service.

The goals of the Program are to educate students to:

  • Comprehend the institutional and inter-organizational structures and fundamental concepts and methods of public policy, planning, and management.
  • Identify and describe problems and evaluate potential solutions from diverse political, economic, social justice, and ethical perspectives.
  • Participate in and contribute effectively to the public policy process.
  • Use data and quantitative and qualitative analytical approaches to define and analyze problems and identify and evaluate feasible solutions.
  • Design and plan responses and monitor implementation in organizations and communities.
  • Evaluate approaches to public, private, and non-profit organizational leadership and management.
  • Engage diverse stakeholders and facilitate civil civic discourse, community participation, and public-private cooperation.
  • Communicate clearly and interact effectively and inclusively with a diverse citizenry and workforce.

Program Requirements

The 36-credit degree program provides a rigorous core of six courses (18 credits) augmented with a 9-credit concentration in Planning and Sustainability or Public Policy and Public and Nonprofit Management and 9-credits from free elective courses. As part of the free electives, students must complete an applied experience or develop an academic portfolio. Students with little or no public service experience normally complete a 3-credit public service internship. More experienced students may enroll in a capstone seminar or develop a non-credit academic portfolio that provides evidence of mastery of MPPM competencies. Students with strong interests and appropriate preparation for study in areas not covered by one of the three concentrations may seek approval from the Program to pursue a self-designed plan of study. 

No course with a final grade of less than B- will be accepted toward graduation requirements. To demonstrate satisfactory progress towards the MPPM degree and be eligible for graduation, students must maintain a GPA of 3.0. In accordance with USM Graduate Studies’ policy, if a student’s cumulative GPA falls below 3.0, the student will be placed on probation and must bring the cumulative GPA to 3.0 level within the next semester, or s/he will be withdrawn from the program.

Waiver of Required Course Request

A student may request waiver of a program requirement by demonstrating adequate mastery of the subject matter. Evidence may include a graduate course syllabus, an undergraduate or graduate transcript, successful completion of an examination, submission of work samples, or other means acceptable to the faculty member teaching the course. Permission to waive a requirement does not reduce the credit requirement for graduation; students take additional electives to attain the minimum of 36 credits required for graduation.

Non-Matriculated Status

Students may take up to six credits at USM on a non-matriculated basis. Please note that current matriculated students have priority in registering for these courses. Non-matriculated students who are later admitted to the MPPM program may apply these credits toward the program requirements. After obtaining written permission from the MPPM Chair and the course instructor, non-matriculated students can register as non-degree graduate students through the USM Registrar’s Office.

Extramural Course Credit

Up to 9 credits of courses taken at other institutions and the accompanying grades may be accepted as part of the graduate program provided that prior approval is granted by the student’s advisor and program chair.


The Core Curriculum

A core curriculum of 18 credits assures an understanding of the basic principles and methods of planning, public policy, and public and nonprofit management.

Public Policy and Public and Nonprofit Management Concentration

Public executives negotiate a constantly changing field to meet the demands of the citizens and communities in which they serve, all the while functioning in a transparent manner to keep and hold the public trust. The Public Policy and Public and Nonprofit Management Concentration is appropriate for students already working or planning to work in government or nonprofits or students seeking professional careers in government accountability and fiscal policy analysis agencies, executive and legislative policy advising, and think tanks, consulting firms, and advocacy organizations.

The learning outcomes of students in the Public Policy and Public and Nonprofit Management Concentration include:

  • Research and analyze public policies and policy proposals using appropriate frameworks and methods, synthesize results, and make recommendations.

  • Identify and articulate competing interests in public policy and social justice debates, including the influence of values, ethics, ideologies, and public opinion.

  • Develop leadership and management skills through engaging in problem- and project-based learning.

  • Understand and evaluate organizational dynamics and mobilize others in collaborative problem-solving and partnerships to address complex problems.
  • Develop the skills to work effectively in an arena of competing interests while being cognizant of the needs of the general community.
  • Communicate effectively and engage productively within a diverse and changing workforce and citizenry, community groups, and organizations.

Students pursuing the Public Policy and Public and Nonprofit Management Concentration complete 9-credit concentration required courses and form a foundation for professional work by selecting 9-credits from a list of free electives. As part of the electives, students must complete one of three options: PPM 696 , a 3-credit public service internship;  PPM 699 , a 3-credit capstone seminar; or a non-credit academic portfolio.*

Planning and Sustainability Concentration

The Planning and Sustainability concentration focuses on building skills in the methods and applications of sustainable community development and planning, including GIS and remote sensing, site planning and assessment, forecasting and modeling, and citizen engagement. Students may also select courses in environmental and sustainability science and theory, and natural resource management and policy. Students will have the opportunity to produce professional-level projects focused on issues of planning and sustainable development.

The learning outcomes of students in the Planning and Sustainability include:

  • Demonstrate strong working knowledge of planning and development elements and standards.
  • Demonstrate working knowledge of the legal and political foundations of plan making and a background in planning and zoning law.
  • Demonstrate proficiency in the use of industry-standard GIS and remote sensing software tools and techniques of analysis.
  • Apply geospatial technologies and spatial analysis approaches to address planning and sustainable community development issues.
  • Demonstrate ability to design, develop, research and communicate professional-level projects using GIS and/or remote sensing tools and focused on issues of planning and sustainable development.

Students pursuing the Planning and Sustainability Concentration complete 9-credit concentration required courses and form a foundation for professional work by selecting 9 credits from a list of free electives. As part of the electives, students must complete one of three options: PPM 696 , a 3-credit public service internship; PPM 699 , a 3-credit capstone seminar, or a noncredit academic portfolio.*